(WASHINGTON) — Is the government wasting big bucks on dogs trained to keep explosives off planes?
A new report by the Government Accountability Office says that many of these bomb-sniffing or “threat detection” dogs are failing the task they’re assigned to do — particularly at high-risk airports — while they cost taxpayers more than $100 million annually.
All this has come to light as the GAO, the main investigative arm of Congress, has secretly followed and videotaped dog teams at airports.
Deployed by the Transportation Security Administration, these dog teams are supposed to sniff out bombs during passenger screenings but the GAO learned they’re mostly used for training or air cargo.
Meanwhile, videos also show dogs unable to pass explosive tests in passenger terminals.
Responding to the GAO finding, the Homeland Security Department agreed with the report and called for more oversight of the program and its funding.
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Tal Kopan and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Paul Vercammen, CNN
Aaron Smith and Jon Ostrower, CNN